Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: J24 for SF Bay? First sailboat
I won't repeat the old saw about "where do you find a J/24 fleet in SF Bay ?"
Where do you find a J/24 fleet in SF Bay ? Here: J24 District 20, Fleet 17
But frankly I have always had a love-hate relationship with J-24's. They sail great and are quite fast for that era. If things get ugly you can sail them home under main alone. They are a very known quantity so there is a vast amount of literature on how to sail these boats. One design sails (new or used) are competively priced. They are still very competitive under PHRF is you wanted to Beer Can race them. They are actually moderately easy to single hand and make nice but not great daysailers. There is a huge amount to like.
But the cockpit is uncomfortable, they are not as forgiving as many of the designs which followed them, they need some remedial work to the cockpit (which often has already been done by a prior owner) so you don't swamp them. They often have core rot. They have this strange helm which always feels a little soggy. Like I said, love-hate.
The nice thing about San Francisco Bay is that there appears to be a lot of active one design fleets of varying designs. I agree with the manufacturer of the Santana 22 that you should have a lot of other choices besides the J-24. I would suggest that if you have your doubts about the J-24, I would talk to some of fleets of the other similar length one designs and the Santana 22 is not a bad alternative. (FWIW I personnaly really like the J-22 better than the J-24's but they do not appear to be popular out there, and they are not at their best in 20 knots of wind.)
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay